MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are heading into the postseason on a high note.
Jason Castro drove in three runs to help send the Twins into Tuesday’s American League wild-card game against the New York Yankees with a victory. Minnesota finished with a record of 85-77, a 26-win improvement from last year’s mark.
Twins starter Bartolo Colon gave up just one run in 6 1/3 innings as the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 in Sunday’s regular-season finale. The 44-year-old Colon walked off the field to a standing ovation from Twins fans in the seventh inning of what could be the last game of his lengthy career.
With the loss, Detroit finished the season 64-98, tied with San Francisco for the worst record in the majors. The Tigers now begin their search for a new manager as skipper Brad Ausmus will not return in 2018.
The only run Colon surrendered Sunday was a solo homer off the bat of Alex Presley in the third inning. Colon struck out four and gave up just three hits in what could be his final game.
With the game tied at 1-1, Castro helped Minnesota pull ahead with a two-run single. His base hit to left scored Eduardo Escobar and Byron Buxton to make it a 3-1 game.
Before Castro’s single, Buxton stole second base, his 24th consecutive stolen base. That extended Buxton’s club record for stolen bases without getting thrown out.
Castro drove in another run in the sixth with a solo homer, his 10th home run of the season. He jumped on a pitch from Tigers reliever Blaine Hardy and drove it to the plaza in right field to put Minnesota up 4-1. Chris Gimenez also homered for Minnesota as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez took the loss in Detroit’s finale. He gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings of work.
NOTES: Twins RHP Ervin Santana will start Minnesota’s game against the New York Yankees in Tuesday’s wild-card game. Santana has faced the Yankees just once this season and gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 2-1 Twins’ loss. RHP Luis Severino will start the one-game playoff for New York. ... Minnesota manager Paul Molitor’s contract is up at the end of the season, but he said Sunday he’s not worried about his status with the team. “If circumstances were different and we weren’t playing Tuesday, I might have spent more time thinking about it, to be honest with you,” Molitor said. The 2017 season marked Molitor’s third year at the helm in Minnesota.